Bloaters confident of success

GREAT YARMOUTH visit second-placed Ely City tomorrow (3pm) full of confidence after last week's exertions earned them three points from an in-from FC Clacton.

GREAT YARMOUTH visit second-placed Ely City tomorrow (3pm) full of confidence after last week's exertions earned them three points from an in-from FC Clacton.

The Bloaters are still looking for a win against the Robins since relegation to the Ridgeons first division two seasons ago, but before that had a good record against the Cambridgeshire side.

“We have a very young side and with new players coming in it is going to take time, but this was an excellent result,” said manager Kevin Cruickshank after the 3-2 home win over Clacton.

“We have just three players over 23, with the oldest only 30, so it's very much a learning experience for most of us at this level. But everyone is so keen to learn, it makes my job that bit easier and more enjoyable.”

The youngsters of the youth team hit their highest score of the season against Harford Tornadoes last week and were due to face them again at the Wellesley on Wednesday. Next week the U18s visit North Walsham on Thursday (7.45pm).

The Reserves went down again with a much changed side away to Norwich United Reserves, but with three home games in February should gather some more points. Tomorrow, they are at home to Downham Town Reserves (2pm).

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Great Yarmouth Town 3, FC Clacton 2

The apprentice and the master, Yarmouth Town's newest contract player and his immediate predecessor, scored the three goals that were ultimately necessary to defeat FC Clacton on Saturday.

All the goals came in a lively second half. Clacton scored first and last in the game but in between Nick Crawley and Stewart Roach (twice) were on target in a devastating five-minute spell to shatter the Seasiders' hopes of a double.

Manager Cruickshank gave a debut to Adam Sullivan, 23, newly-signed from Sole Bay in midweek, while Paul Dyer and Steve Taylor made their home first team debuts. All three made significant contributions to the Bloaters' success.

Cruickshank made Sullivan his man of the match while also appreciating that Taylor was “outstanding” and Dyer got through some good work at the back. “I was very pleased with the new boy,” said Cruickshank. “Adam had a great game and is a good prospect for Yarmouth.”

Old master Roach had a quiet first half but came alive in the second to notch his 124th and 125th Yarmouth goals in typical goal-poaching style after Crawley had got the Yarmouth reply under way only moments before. The Yarmouth management will be thanking their lucky stars that they delayed substituting Roach, and ultimately didn't take him off! Roach was also very close to celebrating another hat-trick late on.

“Their second goal shouldn't have been as the winger was definitely offside but the assistant took his eye off the game,” said Cruickshank. “But our lads were excellent, they didn't let it upset them and they were still trying to score more goals at the end, such is their confidence!”

The first half saw Yarmouth dominate the play but unable to get the ball past debutant 'keeper Jamie Finch. The Bloaters opened strongly with Danny Crane prominent, and as early as the fifth minute a Roach long throw into the box was headed goalwards by Mark Thompson only for a post to intervene giving Finch the opportunity to put the ball out for a corner. Finch then punched away a Thompson free-kick.

Finch next came to the edge of his area to challenge Roach for a Taylor through ball and although the 'keeper lost out, Roach was unable to turn the situation to Yarmouth's advantage.

It was not all Yarmouth by any means, but five Clacton players wasted openings by firing wide in a good spell for the visitors midway in the half.

The nearest thing to a goal in the first period came in the 26th minute when Roach and Thompson created an opening for Taylor to crash a shot goalwards only for Finch to dive spectacularly to tip the ball round the post. Taylor's positional play and passing gave Yarmouth the edge in midfield and he is possibly the player the team has been needing in that area.

Clacton started off the second half in determined fashion and went ahead in the 53rd minute despite desperate attempts to deny them: Michael Lyness' flick came back off the crossbar to Kevin Coyle whose first shot rebounded off Elliott Pride back to him. A second shot was bravely blocked by Pride only for Coyle to score at the third attempt.

It was all looking a bit shaky in the home defence for a while as Yarmouth were unable to break out of their own half and were nearly caught square once or twice. A Clacton free-kick by Matt Waters on the edge of the area clattered into the defensive wall but Clacton looked the more likely to score.

That all changed, maybe a bit fortuitously, when Clacton thought the ball had gone out of play: fatal hesitation on their part allowed Crane to continue down the right and his cross was deftly headed home at the near post by Crawley. That was in the 70th minute, and the Yarmy Barmy Army's cheers had hardly died down when a minute later Roach slid home a similar cross from Crane.

All thoughts of subbing Roach then disappeared and it was unfortunate for goals-provider Crane that he was chosen, along with Tommy Gardiner, for the early shower! Roach then further justified the decision by being on hand to back-heel past Finch a Crawley ball across the area after Thompson had done the initial work on the left.

Three goals in five minutes, and the visitors were reeling as Yarmouth, buoyed by their successes, continued to play some exceptional quality football. However, Clacton did not give up and a strike by 100-plus goal Sean Hillier after 88 minutes set up a nervous few minutes at the end.

There was still time for Roach to try an audacious lob from some 25-yards and although Finch had the last laugh, chasing back to make his catch under the bar, it was not long before Yarmouth were celebrating their first win of 2008.

Yarmouth: Elliot Pride, Johnathan Watt, Paul Dyer (Adam Sewell 60), Steve Taylor, Jody Harrison, Tommy Gardiner (Toby Gorbould 72), Danny Crane (Gareth Palmer 72), Adam Sullivan, Stewart Roach, Nicky Crawley, Mark Thompson.

Referee: J White (Ipswich). Attendance 77.